Nov 9, 2009 8:17pm
Re: Yankees Win!!!!!
The very definition of "bought the championship" = Last year one team spent 500m on contracts for three players, AJ Burnett, CC Sabathia, and Mark Teixera. Think about that, and think about how the Yankees would have fared without those three, or without any two of them.
The NBA is of course quite a different game than in baseball, a game where two or three players routinely carry their teams to the championship. Such is the case in the past 10 years, with the names Kobe Bryant, Shaq O'Neil, and Tim Duncan on most of the teams. The presence of a salary cap helps to keep stars in place, there isn't a team waiting to double anyone's salary each year. In fact, go back another 10 years and it's all Bulls and Pistons. Why? Because they had the best teams and they stayed together. The players weren't lured away by huge contracts elsewhere because you could only go so high and still field a team around the cap.
The fact that there were 8 different champions in MLB in the past 10 years has more to do with teams catching lightning in a bottle, a confluence of things going right for that particular season. As with any sport, it takes luck to get through the playoffs and win the championship. Look at Florida, with Jim Leyland playing old time baseball with bunts and hit and run and steals, with young pitchers rising to the occasion, a slew of stars all coming into their own at the tender young ages of 20-25. The success of that team forced its dismantling within the next few years. No "core of four" there.
The biggest difference between baseball and the other sports is that it is harder to make the baseball playoffs. The 162 game season has a way of reducing the impact of injuries and increasing the ability of the best overall
teams to rise to the top. This leaves a handful of teams having the means to buy up the best available players each offseason and at each trade deadline. They will likely be on top at the end of the regular season because they can afford to be.
This is somewhat self explanatory, going back for 20 years would be even more drastic. Here are the teams that have won WS in the last 10 years, with their average regular season wins over that stretch.
Team Avg wins the last 10 years
The big market teams are consistent winners, the smaller markets are usually out of the playoff race. What's truly amazing is that Boston and NY are in the same division. It's no coincidence that those two teams tend to be the top two spenders, they have to be if they are going to compete with each other.
2008 provides another nice example of how different markets have distinct advantages. Milwaukee and Boston had almost exactly the same home attendance at a little more than 3 million. However, due to the difference in the markets, Boston was able to rake in almost three times the gate receipts that Milwaukee did (176m vs. 61m). This is (to some degree) explained in the average ticket price of $48.80 in Beantown vs. $19.88 in Milwaukee. How is this fair? Both teams have the same number of fans at the gate, one team gets three times as much money to play with as a result. The TV networks really put things out of reach for the mid and small markets. Do you really think that if Milwaukee tripled their ticket prices they would still pull in 3m? All the teams may be playing by the same rules, but the variables are vastly different.
All of this brings us to the concept that the Steinbrenners spend while the other owners pocket the money. To some degree this is true and I would agree that there should be some way to force franchises to reinvest any revenue sharing money directly into the team. Of course, the inner workings of the team's finances are not so transparent, but all this money that the Steinbrenners' are supposedly sinking into the team is leveraged money, leveraged against the value of the franchise. They aren't exactly digging into their own pockets and pumping every last nickle into the team, they are simply borrowing against the value of their team, a team worth 1.5 billion, and using that to expand. The value last year grew some 300m I believe. 1.4 of that 1.5 billion is currently borrowed against the value of the team. Using this model, no other team would be able to keep up because the next highest valued team is the Mets at 950m or so. Funny that the top two teams in terms of value are both in the same market. That's our parity at work.